Norwegian report argues project evaluations have little influence on future allocations of ODA

A Norwegian report from the Christian Michelsens Institute (CMI) argues that ex-post evaluations of development projects have little effect on how future ODA allocations are made. In response, the Minister of International Development, Nikolai Astrup, is launching an electronic portal on which the results from ODA allocations are available to the public to make Norwegian development policy more transparent. Astrup also claims that the MFA will, going forward, utilize the lessons from the evaluation reports when allocating ODA funding.

Press release - The Norwegian Government website (in Norwegian)


Norwegian organizations demand full stop of payments from the Central African Forest Initiative to DRC

The Norwegian branches of Greenpeace, Global Witness, and the Rainforest Foundation have called on the Norwegian government to suspend payments  to the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI), which they claim is contributing to deforestation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The organizations say the Minister of Environment in the DRC granted Chinese companies illegal logging permits, contributing to large-scale deforestation. Norway is the largest donor to CAFI, which in turn provides funding to Central African high-forest cover countries to preserve the forests in the region, to mitigate climate change, and to reduce poverty. 

Greenpeace, Global Witness, and the Rainforest Foundation claim that 75 million hectares of forest is in danger and that CAFI as an actor will contribute to deforestation in the DRC. Norwegian State secretary, Atle Hamar, in response confirmed that further payments to CAFI have been put on hold, until permits are withdrawn.

News article - Bistandsaktuelt (in Norwegian)


Save the Children pushes for Norwegian divestment from companies aggressively pushing infant formula in developing world

The Norwegian Secretary-General of Save the Children, Tove Wang, has pushed for the Norwegian Government Petroleum Fund’s withdrawal from investments in companies aggressively pushing infant formula in developing countries.

Wang refers to reports published by Save the Children, which show that all the large producers of infant formula are in breach of the World Health Organization’s marketing guidelines from 1981. The Norwegian Government Petroleum Fund has invested heavily in five of the six largest producers of infant formula. This is in stark contrast to one of the three focus areas of the fund, children’s rights.

Op-ed - Dagbladet (in Norwegian)

Norway Global health

Norwegian professors criticize Norway's nutrition and agriculture development policies

Norwegian professors at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) want Norwegian ODA initiatives to be more focused on food, nutrition, and agriculture. Professor Ruth Haug and Associate Professor Ola Westengen highlighted in a recent op-ed three ways for Norway to contribute to addressing food and agricultural challenges in Africa.

  1. Access to food, not production, is the principle reason for why under- and malnutrition is a widespread problem: Many African farmers could produce larger quantities of food, but the population lacks purchasing power. Lifting people out of poverty leads to increased purchasing power and is more efficient at combating undernutrition than increasing national production.
  2. Focusing on regulatory frameworks will create institutions needed for developing countries to pass agricultural policies, facilitating farmers' survival and success.
  3. Knowledge transfer programs, such as Oil for Development, should be initiated in the agricultural sector, in order to show how strong farmers' associations, cooperatives, and public research and public management institutions are essential for building an agricultural sector that is not undermined by international free trade.

Op-ed - Bistandsaktuelt (in Norwegian)

Norway Agriculture Nutrition

Norway pledges US$4.7 million to the International Finance Corporation

On a recent visit to the World Bank, Norway’s minister of International Development, Nikolai Astrup, pledged US$4.7 million to the new multi-donor fund, the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The fund aims to develop the private sector in Africa in order to increase job creation on the continent. The fund also aims to make Africa more attractive for foreign private investment.

Press release - Norwegian Government (in Norwegian)


Norway invests US$18 million in Human Rights

The Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ine Eriksen Søreide, highlighted the importance of protecting and promoting human rights during her opening speech at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rigts in Geneva. She emphasized the work that still needs to be done in order to close the gap between agreed norms and realities that many are facing, in which basic human rights are violated. 

Following the visit, Norway will increase its efforts to promote and protect human rights through an agreement with the High Commissioner and contributions of US$18 million. 

Press release - Norwegian Government (in Norwegian)


Norway commits US$42 million for refugees in Iraq

At the Kuwait Conference to Raise Funds to Rebuild Iraq, Norway pledged US$41.7 million for refugees in Iraq. The funding will support internally displaced people in Iraq move back home to areas that have been freed from ISIS.

Press release - Norwegian Government (in Norwegian)


Increase in public support for ODA in Norway

New research by Statistics Norway has found that nine out of ten Norwegians are in favor of providing ODA to partner nations. This number is at an all-time high, since the inception of Norwegian ODA programs in 1972, when support was at seven out of ten Norwegians in favor. 

Press release - Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (in Norwegian)


New partnership between the Global Fund and Heineken sparks strong opposition from Norwegian government and 2,000 organizations

The Norwegian government, and 2,000 international organizations, have called for an end to the partnership between Heineken, the second largest beer manufacturer in the world, and the Global Fund against Aids, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (GFATM). This partnership has sparked criticism due to alcohol's negative impact on both prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

Norway is a large donor to the fund, and the Norwegian government has stated that it will not accept such a partnership, as it is incompatible with Norwegian development policy.

It is not yet decided what will happen to Norway’s contribution if the partnership with Heineken continues.

News article - Vårt Land (in Norwegian)

Norway Global health

Director of Norfund emphasizes need for investments in infrastructure and private sector

The director of Norfund, the Norwegian development investment fund, Kjell Roland, has in a recent op-ed argued that 20% of ODA budgets should be spent on investment in the private sector and in infrastructure in developing countries, in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. This is something Norad will attempt to catalyze by entering new markets and making investments itself. Roland also took the opportunity to call for increased allocations to Norfund, as the current ODA allocated to private sector investments is 5.4%. 

Op-ed - Bistandsaktuelt (in Norwegian)